Bachelor's degree

The Bachelor ( [ bætʃə.lɚ ] or [ bætʃlɚ ], also Bachelor or Baccalaureus [m. ] Or Bakkalaurea or Baccalaurea [f ] ) is either an academic degree and common on the first of a stepped studies at a university or a government qualification title. In most cases, has been studying for a Bachelor a normal period of three to four years.

In many countries and universities, there are very different Bachelor variants. For example, a three-year bachelor be in the United States, the United Kingdom or Canada ( also Basic or Minors called ), a four-year Bachelor (also majors ), and one hono (u ) rs Bachelor (also Bachelor (Honours ) called ) offered.

  • 3.1 degree titles
  • 3.2 bachelor's degrees from vocational colleges
  • 3.3 Comparison with traditional degrees
  • 3.4 PhD without a master
  • 3.5 Bachelor's degree in " Business Schools "
  • 3.6 criticism
  • 4.1 degree titles after today's undergraduate system ( example )
  • 4.2 baccalaureate degrees by 2007 ( Bakk. )
  • 5.1 United Kingdom
  • 5.2 Scotland
  • 5.3 Belgium
  • 5.4 France
  • 5.5 Italy
  • 5.6 Poland
  • 5.7 Sweden
  • 5.8 Spain
  • 6.1 USA
  • 6.2 Canada


The term bachelor is derived from the New Latin word art word baccalaureus contracted from ( from bacalis, -is, "beer rich" and laurus, i, f " laurel ", translated as " one who is crowned with berry -rich bay ", which since ancient times a special ceremony was s poet laureate ), was designated by the owner in the Middle Ages of the lowest academic degree. Besides being used at universities in German-speaking sporadically Bachelor alternative designation. Baccalaureus should not be confused with the word baccalaureatus ( derived from baculum, "gold " and aureatus, " rod " or " Augurenstab " translatable as " gilded scepter " ), the one - to two-year postgraduate degree Bachelor with in some countries the Honours ( Baccalaureatus Cum Honore ) refers.

In the output Wahrig, Large German Dictionary 1967 is to be found:

Bachelor can be derived from the common name in the Middle Ages Baccalaria that a "small Lehngrundstück " designated in the late Middle Ages.

Therefore, the original spelling was also baccalarius, that had nothing to do with the Latin aureus "golden" or Laureus " laurel ". The word denoted first a young clergyman, who wanted to be a contender. Only later then the first academic degree was understood among them, as the baccalarius was not allowed to teach without supervision of Master. The abbreviation was bacc in general. art. Later baccalarius was then verballhornt to baccalaureus.

In the following, a young vassal without fief, a noble servant or even a lower clergy was understood among them. The French bachelier derived possibly from bas chevalier "lower Knights." In the Anglo-Saxon one speaks of the bachelor, the bachelor's degree in German. The Bachelor is since the 13th century, the first to be acquired academic degrees, which was first awarded at the Sorbonne. The shape of Baccalar Bachelor and Latin Laureus ( "Laurel " ) is a wrong word created from a later period, which, however, has prevailed. This applies for example to the French baccalauréat (Abitur or Matura).

The baccalarius the medieval university had initially after the completion of the trivium (grammar, dialectic, rhetoric ) acquired this degree of arts faculty ( baccalarius artium ). After that, the graduate was an assistant teacher at the same time, after the had moved into the Quadrivium. Later, the baccalarius has completed the Faculty of the artists with the degree of magister artium and was able to enter into a higher faculty than magister non regens or teach as magister regens at the arts faculty itself.

In the German speaking part of the academic degree of the ( at that time already so-called ) Bachelor disappeared around 1820, as the Matura or the so-called High School now fulfilled its purpose. There were around 1930 or at some universities the baccalaureus juris ( bacc. jur. ) As a precursor for doctoral degrees.

The shape of a bachelor's degree is also available in the literature, as in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust II (v. 6689 ff.) The Bachelor is obviously identical with the student from Faust I (v. 1868 ff ); He has now made his examination and Mephistopheles appears again towards. It symbolizes the one hand, the original genius of the Sturm und Drang, other, the product came into fraternity and Wartburgfest student movement after the wars of liberation in which Goethe saw in some ways a repeat of the Sturm und Drang. Goethe sees the young students with a mixture of sympathy and disdain.

Bachelor 's degree in Europe

Structure, scope and classification

Basic concept

The Bachelor is the first academic degree and professional qualification completion of a multi-level study model. The standard period of study is generally at least three and at most four years.

According to the European Credit Transfer System ( ECTS) are an average of 30 credit points (CP, credit points ) per semester to purchase. With a bachelor's degree from six semesters so 180 LP, 210 LP in seven semesters and eight semesters 240 LP result. There are also intensive courses, which are awarded in six semesters, 210 LP, such as on a dual university.

One point corresponds to a workload of the respective students of 30 hours, at least 25 hours. The German Rectors' Conference (HRK) approved the recommendation to award a performance point always for 30 hours. At 30 hours per LP is a computational workload of 40 hours per week results ( six weeks of vacation per year). As regards the workload among the entire time that must be spent by the student for the study ( ie, for example the time for lectures, seminars and examinations, and the time for their pre and post ).

Most bachelor's degree programs are limited to a single subject. Some colleges, however, offer to bachelor's degree programs, in which the same number of study subjects are assigned. So there is often the opportunity to complete a so-called two- subject Bachelor 's degree. If the graduate before or during the Bachelor's program a Master of Education for high schools and comprehensive schools and vocational colleges strive (formerly a teacher of secondary education ), this type of Bachelors degree is the basic requirement. However, a fold scientifically oriented Master can be connected in both subjects.

Module structure

The courses in bachelor's degree programs are structured by modules. A module comprises one or more courses together with a learning goal and is the unit that will be awarded for the achievement points. Due to the bachelor's degree the standardization of degree structures across Europe and thus a better international comparability is sought.

The effort in the context of the Bologna process developed by the countries detailed requirements should be guaranteed ( in Germany ), in particular through the accreditation, which is made of special agencies. This external examination of the courses is to ensure both the formal compatibility for undergraduate system and the quality of teaching, the faculty and the study contents. The accreditation agencies are clubs that are in turn accredited by the Accreditation central. The not in all provinces statutory accreditation often does not start until after the introduction of a new course of study. This often leads to the criticism that the first year courses of a Bachelor guinea pigs were, since the output of the accreditation process is uncertain.

Conclusion and possible reorientation

The Bachelor of student acquires a first professional university degree. However, the bachelor's degree is also proof of qualification for a subsequent master's program. With a master's degree can either continue the study and deepened and expanded across disciplines in the professional context ( " consecutive ") or a professional reorientation take place with the change in a master's degree, which is not based on previous studies ( " non-consecutive ").

Studies and career

The aim of introducing a Bachelor's degree in Europe was next to the uniformity within the EU and a shorter study duration, a greater practical relevance of studies. As in the humanities and social sciences, the possible career fields often can not be clearly distinguished, two or three subjects are studied and supplemented by content from the area General Studies generally. In the natural sciences, engineering and economics subjects one subject is usually chosen at the beginning.

Bachelor 's and bachelor 's degrees in Germany

Degree titles

The Economic and Social Science Faculty of the University of Augsburg was the first German university institute, which had each awarded in the 1990s as part of the identical in the three disciplines of business administration, economics and socio-economics graduate preliminary tests an academic bachelor degree, long before bachelor's and master's degree programs move into the German university landscape held. The designation of these economic and social science academic training was:

The Ministers of Education (KMK ) has defined the structural guidelines in 2003 that following designations are to be used in Germany:

An art and music academies following designations are in addition to the Bachelor of Arts added:

The abbreviations are commonly written with points, but especially at the " BA " they may also be omitted as in the previous Magister Artium ( "MA" ).

The University may confer the degree titles in permissible forms of German language (eg: bachelor of science ). Mixed Language names are excluded. The graduate must have the qualification title lead as it was awarded, and must not arbitrarily select a different language. The term is usually written in the Anglo- American-style behind the name, for example, William Smith, BA

The bachelor's degree may not be supplemented by an additional professional or an indication of the type of institution that conferred the bachelor's degree (for example: (FH ) or ( Univ.) ). The reason for this is that it (eg, duration of the course ) is no institution of higher education for the different specific requirements and all institutions subject to the same accreditation requirements. Detailed information for each course are shown in the Bachelor's degree certificate, a bachelor's certificate and the Diploma Supplement. Many universities award from their academic claim out science instead of engineering degrees in engineering courses; comparable goes for the Bachelor of Education, for there is no job description.

In their structural guidelines of 1999, the KMK had established a distinction between more research and more application-oriented degree designations, which is now no longer permissible. Professional accessories are consequently also no longer allowed ( eg Bachelor of Computer Science or Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics). The change in the degree designations in existing courses take place during the accreditation and re-accreditation.

Bachelor's degrees from vocational colleges

In the Federal Republic of Germany of the bachelor's degree can also be purchased at vocational colleges. Graduates receive a state-recognized degree instead of an academic degree. In a further study the respective university decides on the basis of additional test criteria, whether the vocational college graduate can be admitted to a Master's program. With a bachelor 's degree from a college ( university or college ), however, a master's degree can be connected in any case. In Baden- Württemberg the vocational academies were replaced by the Cooperative State University Baden- Württemberg in March 2009. Since these now have the status of a university, since all graduates receive an academic degree.

Compared with traditional degrees

Most bachelor's degree variants confer the same rights as Diplom degrees at colleges. The KMK has not explicitly stated in 1999 that the Diplom (FH ) corresponds to the spread of foreign colleges three - to four-year honors bachelor. This bachelor's variant is not to be confused with the rarer North American four - to five-year university Bachelor with Honours ( scientific diploma program), which requires and is entitled directly to the Ph.D. degree without completed before a master, an additional post-graduate year and a thesis to have, and thus corresponds to the traditional Diplom / Magister; (see below). While generally the bachelor should be considered a first professional degree, it ranges in degree programs, at the end so far concentrated state exams, not enough. With the necessary subsequent master together gives a similar study duration as before.

However, since a substantial part of the Bologna process is the introduction of a multi-stage completion system that is fundamentally different from the previously used classification into primary and secondary studies, any comparison with traditional degrees must coarsen. The structural differences to the current system can not be detected, so that the perceived in the public value of the new statements varies widely, ranging from equating with the existence of intermediate diploma through to diploma.

The following figure shows some possible combinations of standard periods for consecutive Bachelor's and Master's programs and compares them with the traditional diploma:

PhD without a master

A proposal of the German Rectors ' Conference (HRK ) Following is particularly good bachelor's graduates will allow a promotion without a prior master's degree. The German Association of University Professors, as the representative of university teachers is that possibility but hostile to. The ability to take a doctorate in Germany after the successful completion of a bachelor's program is not yet provided for in the laws governing higher education.

Bachelor's degree in " Business Schools "

Even before the Bologna process established also in Germany a few, mostly private " business schools ", ie economic ( high ) schools that offered a bachelor's degree in the Anglo -Saxon model. The lack of government recognition of these financial statements in accordance with the German university law circumvented the " business schools " through partnerships with American and English universities, which allowed graduates to attain with integrated study abroad recognized by the respective university law degree from the partner university. Some of these former " business schools " are now officially recognized in Germany as a university.


According to a study by the university information system breaks into universities, one in four undergraduate student his studies in colleges even every third. The dropout rate in the engineering sciences is considerably higher than in the previous graduate degree programs in the new bachelor's degree programs. This is attributed to the fact that the conversion of the engineering courses is often true of connected diploma to bachelor's degree with a temporal lift, but not. Having a corresponding reduction of the learning material, from which necessarily results in a material consolidation With bachelor's degree programs in social, language and cultural studies as well as in agriculture, forestry and food sciences is the dropout rate is also high, but lower than in previous diploma and master's degree programs. Problems derive from the fact that the implementation of the Bologna Process in Germany, although the Anglo-Saxon study design, but not the Anglo-Saxon tutor system was adopted. Many students assess the bachelor's degree critical as a survey of students revealed from the May 2013. Only 9% aim, therefore, the Bachelor as the highest academic degree. The majority sees it as a stopover on the way to a higher qualification, such as the master. 33% of undergraduate students indicated that they were technically not adequately prepared to feel. Most commonly asked students a greater practical relevance.

Bachelor 's degree in Austria

In Austria, the bachelor's degree was called to May 2007 Bachelors degree, the graduate was the bachelor or the Bakkalaurea (both abbreviated Bakk. ). In cycle degree programs that are set up from the beginning of the winter semester 2006/2007, the Bachelor will be awarded in the future instead of the Bachelor ( amendment to the Universities Act 2002, Federal Law Gazette I No. 74 /2006). However, the recent bachelor 's degree programs can still be completed with the Bachelors degree.

According to § 54 Universities Act 2002 undergraduate studies must include a workload of 180 ECTS credits.

Degree titles after today's undergraduate system ( example )

In Austria, among others, the following designations are used:

  • Bachelors (BA ) for the individual Bachelor's degree ( according to § 55 UG)
  • Bachelor of Arts ( BA or B. A. )
  • Bachelor of Science ( B.Sc. or BSc)
  • Bachelor of Laws ' ( LL.B. )
  • Bachelor of Education ( B.Ed. )
  • Bachelor of Engineering ( B.Eng.)
  • Bachelor of Statistics ( B.Stat. )
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.Sc. or BSc)
  • Bachelor of Theology ( BTh )
  • Bachelor of Philosophy ( B.phil. )
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing ( BScN )

Baccalaureate degrees by 2007 ( Bakk. )

The baccalaureate degree in Austria were:

  • Bachelor / -a of the Arts. ( Bakk. art. )
  • Bachelor / a of the natural sciences. ( Bakk. rer nat.. )
  • Bachelor / -a of the social and economic sciences. ( Bakk. rer. Soc. Oec. )
  • Bachelor / -a philosophy. ( Bakk. phil. )
  • Bachelor / a of technical sciences. ( Bakk. techn. )
  • Bachelor / a of communication science. ( Bakk. Comm )

These degrees are led behind the name.

Bachelor 's degree in other European countries

United Kingdom

In the UK, the Bachelor has traditionally been the standard for a professional academic qualifying degree. The vast majority of the undergraduate degree course lasts three years and is highly structured and specialized in one field. Four-year bachelor degree programs are offered almost exclusively in application-oriented subjects in the curriculum of these so-called " sandwich courses" a year of practice is provided. The system of Bachelor and Master was not understood in the UK as a stepped training before the Bologna process - to the traditional universities such as Oxford and Cambridge, the master title until today honorary and not awarded due to an additional degree. Overall, close to Great Britain only 12 percent of Bachelor graduates directly a master's degree at. The Master's program itself can be a professional qualification, alternatively, graduates can opt for a so-called "research master".

A distinction in the UK between the simple and the Bachelor Degree with Honours. Both will be completed after three years of study with an academic paper. The distinction between simple and Honours Bachelor refers to the achievements during their studies. In general, all tests must be passed at the first attempt in the second and third year of study in order to bear the title of Bachelor with Honours may.


The Bachelor of Divinity (Hons ) Scottish Universities of St. Andrews, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh equivalent to a Masters degree.


In Belgium, with bachelier turn the academic bachelor's degree referred to (this title solves the old Baccalauréat from ).


In France, the conclusion is called a license. The English name carries there a likelihood of confusion with the baccalauréat, corresponding to the high school or graduating from high school; also is the naturalized license term for a university degree with "bac 3 " level ( a conclusion that is acquired three years after graduating from high school, so after three years of study).


In Italy, the bachelor's degree Laurea di means livello 1 °.


In Poland, the bachelor's degree is called licencjat.


In Sweden degree programs at the Bachelor's level existing prior to the start of the Bologna Process, see Kandidatexamen.


The counterpart of the Bachelor in Spain called Título de grado, as well as here in France similar to the baccalaureate ( bachillerato ) already existed as a name for the completion of secondary school.

Bachelor 's degree in North America


A classic college degree (Bachelor ) in the U.S. is intended to give less professional qualification, but rather general, traditionally the democratic and civic education. The course lasts four years, and the first two are often technically very broad ( general studies ). Therefore, the specialization often occurs on the actual main compartment only towards the end of the second year. A university degree in the United States traditionally means less specialized setting, as is the case in Europe. Permeabilities both between disciplines and between science and practice are greater. Master's programs are scientifically oriented and generally invested for two years, they are organized in graduate schools of the universities.


In Canada, you can reach either the bachelor's degree ( " Minor" / "General" ) after completion of a study course with a duration of three years at a college or rarely at a University, or the university "Major", " Specialization " or " Honours ' Bachelor 's degree with a duration of four years. Bachelor's theses are called " essay ", " paper", "term paper" or. Rarely, the traditional consecutive Bachelor with Honours degree ( Baccalaureatus Cum Honore degree) is offered, which is reached after a previous bachelor's degree the same field, with a duration of one to two years at a university. It is achieved through completion of courses and writing a longer scientific thesis ( " honors thesis seminar "). The Baccalaureatus Cum Honore is required for admission to two - to three-year "very high research" master's programs or for simple Ph. D. - degree programs. This school model was similar to the traditional master / diploma in Germany or the "post- graduate " Bachelor with Honours in Australia, becoming the discontinued model and has since been largely replaced by shorter consecutive Master variants.

Bachelor's degree in the Commonwealth

In Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, after the regular Bachelor in good to very good performances ( upper second and first class ) the study of Bachelor with Honours ( abbreviated to Hons. ) Will be included. This usually requires two-semester study courses and a longer academic dissertation ( thesis). It can also be recognized as the first year of the master. A good degree ( second class ) allows a longer Master's degree at a top research institution. A very good degree ( first class ), however, may authorize a direct promotion.

The systems of the countries listed differ in time and scope. To take the example Hons. in Australia a year or two and contains a longer written research. In New Zealand, however, the creation of a less extensive research within the one-year B. Hons. be voluntary within the coursework. Takes place content in the Honours year also a mainly science oriented deepening of existing course content. Both can be recognized as the first master year. In South Africa, the principle that a master's program can be started only after four years of study applies. Therefore, a one-year Honours year is inserted in the three -year programs in order to ensure the required period of study.